An afternoon thunderstorm sparked two fires on the Flathead Reservation on Wednesday, and one other fire is under investigation.
The Gunbarrel fire, between Elmo and Dayton, burned eight acres of grass and scattered timber after it began around 7:30 p.m., said Curtiss Matt, fire prevention specialist with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Division of Fire.
What caused the blaze remains under investigation, Matt said.
Lightning sparked the Arlee Pines fire, four miles south of Arlee, and the Rattlesnake fire, six miles north of Hot Springs.
Fifteen acres of grass and sparse timber burned in the Arlee Pines fire, which began at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Twenty firefighting crew members were on the site Thursday for mop-up operations, Matt said.
Arlee volunteer firefighters were first to the scene and were joined by one engine retardant plane, one helicopter, two type 4 engines and a skidgine.
At the Rattlesnake fire, which ignited about 4:10 p.m., less than an acre of grass burned in the rocky terrain. A helicopter crew had the fire contained shortly after 6 p.m., Matt said.
No structures were damaged in any of the fires, he said.
Dry conditions and the fires prompted an increase in the fire danger level to very high on the reservation. Although no fire restrictions are in effect at this time, Matt urged people to make sure campfires are in designated areas and completely put out.